Flake ice is a loose term used to describe types of ice which consist of irregular shaped pieces. These pieces can vary in size from very small; almost snow like particles up to fairly large pieces of ice 50mm across and in thickness of up to 10mm.These different ice types, while superficially similar in appearance are often produced using very different processes and can have totally different physical properties, so it is important to identify which is the right type of flake ice for you.
There are two types to flake ice, Chip Flake Ice and Scale Flake Ice:
Chip flake ice is made in a tall, narrow cylinder with an auger running through the center. Water is introduced into the cylinder at the bottom, the auger then transports this water up through the cylinder, freezing it and forming it as it goes into ‘chips’ or ‘flakes’ of ice. These frozen pieces are then ejected from the top of the cylinder into the ice delivery pipe where it is then fed by gravity to the point of use or storage. This type of flake ice comes in three sizes, micro, midi and macro.
Scale type flake ice is made in a large, wide diameter cylinder which has an orbital reamer inside. Water is introduced into the cylinder at the top and flows by gravity down the inside walls, freezing as it goes and forming an ice scale on the inside wall 1.5 to 2.5mm thick. This ice is then ‘cracked’ from the wall by the orbital reamer as it passes and the ice falls through the bottom of the cylinder to the point of use or storage below
Using Chip flake ice as a cooling medium for fish has a great deal in its favour; it has a very large cooling capacity for a given weight or volume; it is harmless, portable, and cheap. It is especially valuable for preserving fish since very rapid cooling is possible through intimate contact between fish and small pieces of ice. Ice keeps the chilled fish cold, moist and glossy and prevents the dehydration that could accompany other methods of cooling, such as refrigerated storage without ice. White fish such as cod, caught in Arctic water and preserved in ample crushed ice soon after catching, will keep in first-class condition for five or six days and will remain edible for up to 15 days.
One of the best flake ice machines to use is the AF80 from Scotsman SA with its 25kg storage capacity, its perfect for any job.